State to Court: Consensual Evacuation of Illegal Outpost Amona Has 'Security Value'

Palestinians petition High Court on state's plan to divide plots of land near Amona in a way that will prevent future property claims by the owners.

Demonstrators protest against the evacuation of Amona in front of the Knesset, January 30, 2017.
Emil Salman

The state and the residents of Amona filed separate responses to a Palestinian petition in the High Court of Justice against the outline of the plan to evacuate the illegal outpost.

The petition, filed by the human rights group Yesh Din, focuses on the state’s plan to divide plots of land near Amona, to which the community’s residents will be relocated, into smaller lots in a way that will prevent future property claims by the Palestinians who own the land.

In its response, the state cited the “security value” of reaching a solution that will allow Amona’s consensual evacuation. It said it believed the necessary preparations had been made, in light of the fact that the solution is “temporary and short-term and expresses a very significant solution to a public need in the form of maintaining public order and security.”

The state also said the Amona settlers had gone back on an earlier promise to the High Court to evacuate peacefully. It said the reason the residents gave for the reversal was that the state had not met its obligations toward readying new homes for them nearby.

But the state also noted that on Sunday, the residents promised Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and cabinet secretary David Sharan that they would leave peacefully.

The state referred to an opinion given a few months ago by the Shin Bet security service and the National Security Council that there is a “clear advantage to moving ahead a solution to the evacuation of Amona and at the least a solution that will very much reduce the level of opposition to the evacuation.”

In the separate response submitted by the residents of Amona, they accused Yesh Din of “a desperate and last-ditch attempt to remove Jews from Mount Amona,” calling Yesh Din’s actions “racist.” The settlers’ main claim is that subdividing the lots will not infringe of the rights of the Palestinian landowners “and does not contravene international law.”